August proved a good month for the Italians. When we finally managed to get a Ferrari 458 Italia on the same bit of UK soil as three supercar rivals (it was meant to be four before the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera went south), the Ferrari took victory, setting up a future showdown with the (now imminent) McLaren MP4-12C.
Then, two weeks later, our cover proclaimed: "New Alfa beats Focus." In our group test of the new diesel Alfa Giulietta, Ford Focus and VW Golf GTD, the Ford was the first to leave the contest. Splitting the VW and Alfa was much more difficult. In the end, author Andrew Frankel concluded: "Think of this outcome like an Ashes tour: if the series is drawn, whoever already has the trophy keeps it, which is what the Golf gets to do here. It really was that close."
The month was more mixed for the Swedes. Volvo should be encouraged that, in our S60 group test, its new executive saloon proved good enough to beat the Audi A4 and showed itself as a credible alternative to the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class (even if it ultimately placed lower). Saab, however, would probably rather forget August; our road test verdict said that its new 9-5 was "simply not good enough."